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Now and Then, Here and There
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 10/07/2002

Synopsis:
Shu's life has always been pretty ordinary... that is until he meets a strange, quiet girl named Lalaru while watching the sunset. Some equally strange soldiers pop out of nowhere to capture Lalaru, and Shu is compelled to help her in whatever way he can. Thus Shu is transported to another world with Lalaru, but it is a world that knows no peace...
 
Review:
A number of people had warned me beforehand of how sleep-inducing Now and Then, Here and There was. But in fact, it's not. I was shell-shocked at how dark and disconcerting it was, yet I wanted to see what was going to happen next as soon as possible. Get this, I finished all thirteen episodes in two sittings -- and the second sitting started at midnight, a timeslot which is notorious for putting me to sleep.
 
Now and Then, Here and There starts off with a scene in a typical household. A boy named Shu, who looks like he's anywhere from 12 to 14 years old, is wolfing down his breakfast while chatting with some family members. Shu goes to school, gets into a kendo match, etc. Just another regular day. Afterwards, Shu goes off to watch the sunset atop a smokestack. There he meets a strangely pretty young girl named Lalaru. Suddenly, some hostile soldiers appear and take Lalaru by force. Shu tries to help but is unwittingly transported along with Lalaru and the soldiers to Hellywood, a military fortress ruled by a psychopath named Hamdo... and this is where the real story begins.
 
When I first saw Shu and Lalaru, I half-expected this series to be a teen romance between a boy and an alien girl (I thought Lalaru was an alien). Now and Then, Here and There is nothing of the sort. Right after Shu is transported to Hellywood, he really goes through hell (I'm not exaggerating in the least) for the sake of his quest to aid / save Lalaru. But see, not only Shu suffers. Any character who has the least bit of goodness in him / her winds up either thoroughly abused or dead. We have innocent children kidnapped and forcefully drafted into military service, young girls (minors for crying out loud!) kidnapped and raped so they can bear Hellywood's offspring, villages and villagers burned to a crisp just for being there... Yes, this series paints an awful picture. So awful that I wanted to strangle Hamdo with my own hands. The fact that most of the characters involved are kids makes it all the more disturbing.
 
The art and animation are quite good. Character designs are on the simple side. No one is exceptionally attractive, except maybe for Lalaru who possesses an ethereal beauty / cuteness that is inexplicable... but then that is how she is meant to be. The overall visual effect suits the series nicely though. While there are implications of rape, there is no nudity or sex shown anywhere in the series.
 
Dark and disturbing as it is, Now and Then, Here and There is undeniably an excellent piece of work. In the midst of the bad things that keep on happening, Shu's indomitable spirit manages to get you through it all. Even after I finished the last episode, I couldn't stop thinking of what had just transpired. This is definitely one of the most memorable series I've seen in recent times.
 
Miscellanies:
Now and Then, Here and There was directed by Akitaro Daichi, who also directed "Jubei-chan the Ninja Girl" and "Elf Princess Rane".

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Now and Then, Here and There
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Review Title:
Now and Then, Here and There
Alternative Titles:
Ima, Soko ni Iru Boku
Type:
TV
Episodes:
13
Duration:
325 Minutes
General Rating:
4 out of 5 stars
Aired:
1999-2000
Suitable For:
Young Adults
Genres:
Adventure, Drama, Fantasy,
Military, Sci-Fi
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